Saturday, October 1, 2011

Ashfall by Mike Mullin

15/16 year old Alex Halprin watches as his mother, father and younger sister Rebecca drive off to visit his uncle’s farm in Warren, Iowa 140 miles away leaving him behind for what he believes will be a carefree weekend.
Shortly after, a super volcano erupts from Yellowstone National Park spewing Ash, as well as causing major earthquakes to occur across the US.

Alex’s house is devastated and he is lucky to make it out alive while ending up at his neighbors’ home. This is followed by a constant barrage of explosions that leave people wondering if the world is about ready to end while darkness befalls the town of Cedar Falls.

This is the day that Alex’s whole world changes in a blink of an eye from a care free World of Witchcraft player and Taekwondo specialist who chirps back at his mother and could care less about his sister’s moods; to a survivor who must brave not only the ash and the darkness it leaves behind, but the health dangers that it brings as well as survivors who believe they have the right to rape, kill, and take from others without any consequences.

Alex must face several life or death obstacles just to make it through the first several days, let alone weeks of the aftermath of the super volcano eruption that leaves citizens fighting for their very right to live. When Alex comes across a felon who wants his stuff, he digs deep into his martial arts training, and fights back. It’s not the first, nor the last time that Alex will have to use his training to help him out of jams. Even though he survives, it’s not without a price. Luckily, he happens upon a mother and daughter that save his life.

One of the best quotes the book has to offer, and yes, I am so stealing the idea from another reviewer! “For the first time ever, I felt ashamed of my species. The volcano had taken our homes, our food, our automobiles, and our airplanes, but it hadn’t taken our humanity. No, we’d given that up on our own.” Truer words have never been spoken.

Humanity is its own worst enemy in every way possible, and Mullin does an excellent job of describing them from Alex’s POV. Humanity either finds ways to survive and deal head on with its problems while helping others out during their time of need, or it creates even more disturbing situations that cause even deadlier consequences for the survivors, including a basic lack of food, water, the ability to communicate, and the ability to find shelter.

This book should be a learning lesson to everyone to STOCK up on basic needs like canned goods, water and learn what you would do if you suddenly found yourself in a similar situation. Because, you just don’t know when a natural disaster is going to hit where you live. Just look at recent events in our country, as well as others around the world.

For those who love dystopian novels, you will definitely enjoy this one, and I’m highly recommending it. You won’t find zombies eating human brains, but you will find several funny references with strawberry milkshakes and brains.
Although Alex is the storyteller, he is not the only likable character Mullin writes into his story. No, actually I found 18 year old Darla Edmunds to be much more charismatic, and mechanically inclined to come up with numerous ways how to survive and thrive during hard times. It is Darla who ends up saving Alex’s life more than once when he gets into deep kimchee with not only other survivors, but with the elements as well.

It is also Darla who figures out ways how to build unique contraptions that allow for the production of food that can last until the devastation is finally over with. Yes, readers of my reviews, you will also come to appreciate how fast Alex grows up and discovers not only love, but a way how to survive and move towards his goal of reaching his uncles farm. You will also find a romance that is not thrown in your face, but gradually built up from pure hatred, and resentment, to something deeper and hopefully more substantial in the end.

This isn’t exactly a happy story. It is a dark tale about survival and the way Alex and Darla end up working together to end up at their final destination; Alex’s uncle’s farm more than 100 miles away. There is a situation of rape, murder, cannibalism, torture, and putting survivors into death camps because of low food rations in the affected areas.

Ashfall by Mike Mullin is an ARC provided by and Tanglewood Press and will be released October 11, 2011. ARC recvd 08/08/2011 via Netgalley and Tanglewood.

Title: Ashfall
Author: Mike Mullin
Release Date: October 11, 2011
Genres: YA Dystopian

No comments:

Post a Comment